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Fred G. Hughes Stadium
Fred G. Hughes Stadium is now in its 42nd year as the Home of the Lions. The $1.7 million stadium was built in 1975 at no cost to the taxpayers of the State of Missouri, as financing was accomplished entirely through student fees and private contributions.
In the summer of 2015, construction was finalized on the new Endzone Fieldhouse on the campus at Missouri Southern. Situated north of Fred G. Hughes Stadium, the facility houses training and strength and conditioning facilities, as well as locker rooms for football, baseball and softball. Offices for those sports, as well as administration will be part of the facility, while an academic success center, as well as a alumni room will be housed on the second floor.
The first college football facility in the state to have an artificial-turf playing field, Hughes Stadium was outfitted with a brand new playing surface in 2015 from Shaw Sports Turf, a Calhoun, Ga. based company. The Momentum synthetic turf system features Strenexeslit film fiber, a proven technology known for its durability and overall performance. The slit film fiber construction results in an “umbrella” effect that helps hold infill in and reduce overall fly-out. The system is available in three configurations each with its own distinct benefits. Momentum synthetic turf is utilized in various collegiate football stadiums in all divisions, as well as serving as the official surface for both the stadium and practice field of the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens.
The new turf at Hughes Stadium was installed in the summer of 2015, and was part of an overhaul of the facility that saw the new $9.4 million end zone facility added just north of the stadium. This new facility houses offices for football, softball and baseball, as well as administration on the top level, while housing locker rooms, a strength training center and athletic training facilities in the lower level. The new turf at Hughes Stadium replaced a Sprint Turf surface, a rubber-filled turf, that was utilized since 2003. AstroTurf graced the Hughes playing surface for its first 13 years.
The stadium has a seating capacity of 7,000. The west grandstand seats nearly 5,000 fans, including a section for the handicapped, while the east grandstand has seating for approximately 2,000 spectators.
The first game at the stadium was played on Sept. 6, 1975, as the Lions defeated Emporia State University 20-13. The facility was formally dedicated two weeks later on Sept. 20, and Southern was again victorious, beating the University of Missouri-Rolla 26-6.
After winning five of seven home games that initial season, the Lions have enjoyed great success while playing on the “turf.” In 38 seasons of play at Hughes Stadium, Southern has compiled an impressive 119-88-3 record for a .575 winning percentage.
Southern’s longest home win streak is 11 games. That string began on Oct. 11, 1975, and continued two years later until Oct. 29, 1977, when nationally-ranked Kearney State College (now University of Nebraska-Kearney) handed the Lions a 27-23 homecoming loss.
In addition to Lions football, Hughes Stadium is home to Southern’s track & field squads. The facility has hosted Missouri Class 1A, 2A, and 5A Football Championships and various regional and national youth and collegiate cross country and track & field meets.
The stadium is named in honor of Fred G. Hughes, who was the president of the College’s Board of Regents at the time the facility was built. It was designed by the architectural firm of Allgeier, Martin, and Associates of Joplin.